Chapter 31 : The Hardest Things In Life
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“He isn’t Marius you bloody twit.” A calm voice said from behind Armand. Standing tall was a broad, black haired man with a humorous look on his face. “It’s been awhile Drown, but I didn’t think it had been long enough for you to confuse my dashing looks with this ordinary lad.”
“How are you still alive?” Armand narrowed his eyes to the familiar vampire stepping in front of him.
“The same way that you are old friend. Just because you shove a wooden stake into my chest, threw me into a bloody coffin, and buried me 6 feet under, that doesn’t mean I would have died.” Marius rubbed his chest slightly. “Even though that damn stake hurt like hell, you missed that sweet spot by about 3 inches.”
“Believe me, it won’t happen again.” The two vampires at Armand’s sides charged Marius. He kneeled and slammed his palms onto the floor causing lightening bolts to rip through the stone and strike the two creatures to the ground.
Hermione’s breath caught in her throat at how powerful the man infront of her was. His remarkable magic struck down the two vampires and reduced them to simple piles of ash. ‘Looks like I lost out with the weak vampire.’ the voice in her head sighed. She saw how overwhelmed Armand now looked. He was weak, with no one to protect him, to order around. There was no one to sacrifice in order to obtain his own safety.
“Princess, please, come to me.” He said holding out his hand.
‘Princess? Who does he think he’s calling a princess?! I’m his bloody Queen!’
Draco wrapped his arm tightly around Hermione’s waist. He wouldn’t let that creature get hold of his love again. The other vampire wanted her too, but for reasons Draco knew not. Marius had helped them in America though. This stranger appeared from no where and got Draco and the others to Hermione. And now, he was waging some sort of fight against Armand, but why? Why would a vampire fight another for a half breed vampire with an evil entity inside? Nothing made sense anymore. Subconsciously, he wrapped another arm around Hermione’s shoulder not wanting her to be snatched away.
“My Lady, your men need your leadership. They wait for your orders. They wait for you to return and rule.” Armand said still holding his hand out. ‘Pfft...even I’m not being convinced. I really should have checked over his weak excuse of a vampire before entering your body.’
“He will use you Hermione. He wants you away from everyone you love, everyone that you still cling to for light. A monster is all you will become if you simply give up.” Marius said calmly turning to Hermione and holding her eyes in his.
“I want to be with you only.” She said twisting into Draco’s chest and hugging onto him.
“You aren’t going anywhere, ‘Mione.” Draco said holding tightly around her. ‘Do I no longer exist? Dark Lady here, still kicking around wanting out and to raise hell. Just because you want to be with this love sick puppy, does not mean I wish to.’
“Be silent Marius! You have no right to intrude upon matters that mean nothing to you.” Armand growled dangerously.
“I have more power than you Armand; you are the one who has no right to involve yourself in this matter once again.” Marius retorted.
Draco could feel each tensing muscle in her body. He couldn’t handle her being in such distress. It weighed every inch of him down as she curled into herself trying to escape her own life.
“Why are you here?” Draco asked feeling angry at the two men for causing his Hermione so much inner turmoil.
“Is this really important at the moment?” Marius sighed.
“Yes, it is very important, to Hermione and me.” Marius looked to the girl in his arms and saw how disarrayed she was.
“I’m Prince Marius. I was to be king, but my destiny brought me to another life. There was a beautiful woman, Antoinette Papillion, you.” He said smiling at Hermione. “We were to be wed, but this snake of a man ruined everything.” Armand had a smug look on his face by this time. “She was the most pure thing to walk this earth, and he corrupted her soul, turned her into the creature the town feared most, a blood sucking vampire.” Marius was heartbroken, but continued. “Antoinette was stolen from me after that. Armand wanted her for himself, and he thought that turning her into a vampire would force her to live with him in an eternal life together.
She disappeared. I searched for twenty years, but to no avail. I was getting older, weaker, and my hope of finding my love in a single lifetime dwindled. I fled to the Old part of the town. Rundown buildings, lurking shadows, everything that made my skin crawl. There I found her. A sweet little thing named Elizabeth Hopkins. She turned me into a vampire upon my request. I had an unlimited life, and unlimited time to find my precious Antoinette.
I spent nearly 200 more years tracking down other vampires, getting information, locations, anything they could spit out. Then I found Arielle, and she was willing to help me. She knew of a vampire that went by the name of Drown, but she knew not his first name.” Marius locked eyes with Hermione, “She didn’t want to hurt you, but it had to look real. She was undercover for me to find out who exactly this girl that was being trained so vigorously was.
That night in the forest, when the both of you clashed in a fight, I was watching. I saw your fierce spirit, your every elegant and poised move. You were her. But I was dumbfounded in how much my Antoinette had changed. Arielle informed me that you were a muggle born, and couldn’t possibly be Antoinette Papillion. But as I watched how you lived, I became more certain that somehow, you were taking Antoinette’s place and destiny.” Marius finished and Draco stared as if he were dreaming. But Hermione just wished to know one thing.
“Why did you lie to me Armand? What possessed you to take away my life and turn me into a half breed vampire, and then into a host for old dark magic?”
“I have never lied to you my Queen. It’s this intruder in our lives that has filled your mind with false fairy tales and accusations.” Armand insisted.
“That doesn’t answer my question.” She said stepping away from Draco.
“Do you not see what you have become?” Armand wondered.
“I’m a monster now!” Hermione shouted.
“No, you are the most wonderful creature to have ever walked this Earth. Feel the limitless power surging inside you. I have put that in you. You have the power to have anything you wish. All of your desires, just dancing on your finger tips. There is no one strong enough to challenge your will now, my Queen.”
Marius grimaced seeing how intrigued the young girl had suddenly become. If Armand was able to turn her to the dark side, the world would be doomed. He had seen great wizards fall under immense power, but he didn’t want that for her.
“You can never go to the dark side Hermione. Armand wishes to win, but you are the only one now that can decide how this war will end, and he knows that. If you take the place as Dark Lady, hundreds of thousands will be slaughtered at your command. Innocents will crumble in your hands at your savage cravings. You cannot allow this power hungry fiend to just pull you into something like that.” Marius said effectively.
Hermione turned from the two men and back to Draco. She wanted nothing more than to have a normal life with him. To fall asleep in his warm and protective arms, then in the morning wake up to his tired smile and sleepy gaze. He was still the one who she thought of late at night, the one who could touch her and still send shivers through her body. Draco was the only person who ignited such deep emotions inside her.
‘You can’t have him you know.’ She heard Marius say in her mind. He was staring right at her with a serious stare.
‘And why not? I love him and he loves me back. There is nothing wrong with that.’ She shot back getting angry.
‘You are immortal now. Armand and the ritual turned you into a full vampire with limitless power. No longer are you a half breed. You will live forever, and to choose a life with a mortal is foolish. He’ll age and become sick as you live on perpetually the same. He will die eventually too. Hermione, no one should live on to watch all the ones they love die, and then deal with that pain later, alone.’
A silent tear slid down Hermione’s cheek. Draco stepped forward and rubbed it away with his thumb.
“There is no way to change any of this back?” She pleaded to Marius.
“I’m afraid not. You are to live this life now Hermione.” He replied. “Now you just have to choose which path.”
“She will take her place as the Dark Lady!” Armand growled and snatched up her arm, pulling her from Draco. “I created you; made you more than a filthy mudblood, and now you are bound to me.”
“You’re right Drown.” Hermione said yanking her arm away. “You did create me, and gave me power beyond possibilities.” She said staring up at him. “I should take the place of ruling all of you pathetic little creatures.”
“Hermione what are you thinking?!” Draco shouted not believing what she was saying. She saw dawn breaking through the open castle windows and sighed. She truly couldn’t be with Draco like she wished so deeply. A vampire’s life was all she could have now.
“I’m so sorry Draco. I can’t have you anymore.” Armand began laughing in triumph.
“See, I have won again Marius. She will always choose me!” He boosted and grabbed Hermione’s wrist and squeezed painfully.
Down the hall a closet door exploded into a hundred sharp pieces. Hermione turned to see Armand’s laughter was cut short. She smiled looking down at the wood that had pierced his chest.
“You missed.” Armand roared in agony and anger with fire burning in his eyes and swung an arm out at her. He stumbled back hitting a wall directly in front of her.
‘Make him burn.’ the malicious voice inside her ordered. Armand was thrown from where he stood and landed in the box of light spilling from the window. Draco and Marius closed there eyes and turned away at the horrible screams coming from him.
Harry regained consciousness and saw Hermione’s whole body trembling feet infront of him. She was watching as Armand’s body turned red and boiled as he screamed in the worse kind of pain. Flames burst from under his skin and he crumbled into himself and into a pile of smoking ash. The curdling screams ceased and Draco and Marius opened their eyes again.
Hermione sighed feeling the crushing weight lifted from her shoulders. But there was one more thing that she had to do. Turning to Draco, she tried to smile. He was so good to her and he was there in her darkest moments.
“Hermione, are you alright?” Harry croaked as he hauled himself from the stone floor. He made his way over to her as Draco did the same. Even though she was smiling weakly at the two of them, they could see regret and sadness in her.
“I’m fine,” She whispered, “but things just aren’t working out like I’ve wished.”
“Armand is gone forever, and Hogwarts didn’t fall into darkness. It’s all over, how can you say things aren’t working out?” Draco asked.
“I’m so sorry.” Tears cascaded down her cheeks, but she held back the sobs in her throat. The two boys stepped toward her and Harry reached a hand out to her. As his fingers brushed against her shoulder, she jumped back and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Hermione reappeared beside Marius behind Harry and Draco.
“Mione, what are you doing?” Draco asked feeling frantic about her actions.
“I owe you everything I have, Draco, for all you’ve done and sacrificed for me. You deserve someone that can grow old with you, and have a family with you. I can’t give that to you, and you won’t ever get something so wonder if I stay here.” She couldn’t get herself to look at him. She was afraid that seeing his heart break would make her mind change.
“You can’t just leave all the people that love you.” Harry said desperately. Draco stood still as a statue. He was running through all the things he could say to try and change her mind, but he knew it was a fruitless attempt. She was everything that he ever wanted, and she loved him, but now she was just out of his reach and getting further away.
“All we have been through together, everything that we have faced together, and you just want to run away from it all?” Draco said feeling weak and powerless. “You are the only thing I want from this world.”
“Don’t you think I still want to live my life with you also?” Hermione shouted finally looking at him as tears burned against her skin. “I would give anything just to be with you. This between us, it can’t work. I don’t want to watch you grow old and be buried while I still look as I do now. You want a family, just like I do, but eventually our children will die too, and I will be there watching them on their deathbeds. No one should have to bury their own children.” Hermione sobbed wrapping her arms around herself trying to create some sort of comfort. “I love you Draco Malfoy, but I refuse to be selfish and keep you for myself when all it will bring is sorrow.”
Draco stepped forward, when she made no moves away from him, he rushed to pull her into his arms. He ran his fingers over the sides of her face as he let his tears fall.
“I can’t let you go like this. No one can ever make me feel the way I do about you. You make every inch of my body tingle like the first night we spent together. My only thoughts are of you. I love everything that makes you, you. Your beautiful face, your laugh that makes everyone happier, how each morning right after you wake I get kicked out of the bed from how far you can stretch,” Draco smiled as a single laugh escaped between her silent sobs. “There is nothing about you that I don’t love, and that I simply can’t live without.”
Hurried footsteps sounded down the hall and the familiar voices of the Hogwarts’ professors could be heard.
“Hermione, we must go now.” Marius said calmly.
“I won’t forget you, no matter how long I am walking this earth.” She whispered, then pulled him roughly down to her and lost herself in their last kiss. Draco grasped the black dress around her not wanting her to pull away.
“Now, we can’t wait any longer.” Marius said a bit more urgently. She pushed from Draco and backed away to Marius.
“I’m going to find you again ‘Mione, I don’t care how long it takes.” Draco said taking a deep shaking breath.
“Goodbye Draco and Harry, tell everyone I’ll miss them...” She said with a pang of guilt. Draco watched as the black haired vampire turned away from him with Hermione beside him. With a single last look at her love, Hermione vowed to never forget even the littlest detail of him.
In a blink, they were gone, and Draco felt every bit of him dissipate as he collapsed to the ground in a heap of pure sorrow. The footsteps came up behind him and came to an immediate halt.
“What has happened here? Where is Miss Granger?” McGonagall asked Harry when noticing Draco’s state. Dumbledore bent over to Draco and helped him from the floor.
“Come dear boy, you must get away from this place.” He instructed and led Draco to his office.
Dumbledore showed Draco to his personal chambers that no doubt were safe. He left the grieving young man alone. Draco was exhausted, and his mind could no longer process the events that had unfolded. He slowly succumbed to sleep, but images of her would not stop plaguing him.
Harry walked the halls and watched as the unharmed students helped the injured and weak, and the elves cleaned up the shards of battle that were scattered about the castle. He forced his eyes away when he came across the unmoving eyes, and pale distorted faces that he once recognized as his peers. Down the hall he caught sight of red hair and began sprinting toward it. Ginny was crouch over the body of Parvati Patil. She was breathing shallow and Ginny was attempting to keep her calm.
“Ginny...” Harry said softly. “You can’t help her anymore.” He said feeling sickness overcome his stomach. He pulled the young girl up and pushed her face into his tattered robes so she could no longer look at the horror around her.
War took something from everyone that day. Families lost loved ones, mothers lost children, and homes were destroyed forcing people from their lives. After the attack on Hogwarts, owls arrived through shattered windows. Voldemort and his last loyal followers had made a final attempt to take down the Light side. They somehow got into the Ministry of Magic and killed many. When a Ministry owl found Dumbledore, he quickly fled with Harry to help counter Voldemort’s attacks. In the end, Voldemort fell at the wand of Harry Potter, and the Wizarding World was safe again.
For Draco, he lost the one thing that made him want to live. The beautiful angel that saved him from a terrible life of servitude, but she thought no more of herself then a monster. She left him, and his heart was shattered because of it. He believed now that the hardest thing in life is watching the one you love leave, and know they are never coming back.
Hermione took in a sharp breath as the wind blew hard against her. She watched the moon shine and the stars twinkling outside as she sat on her window sill. She and Marius went to the flat she rented before going back to Hogwarts. It was vacant now, save for a few of the things she left behind that no one bothered to clean up or take.
Marius came up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry you had to leave him.” He said softly.
“I am too.” She echoed as another gust of cold air rushed against her. Marius turned to walk away, but she asked him, “Do you want to know something Marius?” Without an answer she told him anyway knowing he was listening. “The hardest thing in life is leaving the one you love, and knowing you can never see them again.”
“I know, but this was the only right decision.” He told her reassuringly.
“How long did you miss her for?” She asked referring to Antoinette.
“I still do, Hermione. But lately, I’ve found myself forgetting her smell, the feel of her hair, her warm touch,” He sighed sadly casting his gaze away. “All the things that made her real, and not just a memory.” He said before walking into the spare bedroom and shutting the door. Hermione found herself running through all the things she loved about Draco, pleading to never forget.
I’ve left everyone I love behind. I once thought that I would never be accepted again in Hogwarts, but I was. There was a boy that took me into his heart and I will forever love him for that. What I am, what I was made, destroyed everything I had ever worked for. It’s like my old life never existed. Sure, I may still be the same freckle faced girl I was a year ago, but what is that worth if I don’t want to be that girl any longer? This is the exact reason why I am petrified to go back home, back to those who I once knew, when they were more than memories. That was my old life, before, before I became a true monster. I’m Hermione Granger, and I haven’t even begun to tell you my story.
A/N: ok, so, THIS is the last a/n for this story.. haha. As you might have realized, there is a sequel. It's already posted, called "A Vampire's Lament".
Thank you so much to all my loyal readers and reviewers. You all truly are the only reason I kept with this story! So many times I was on the verge of making this an Abandoned story, or deleting it all together because of how awful I thought the plot was. But, those of you who continued with all those gracious and wonderful reviews kept me going. Secret Lusts is now COMPLETE after almost 1 year and 5 months!!!! :D THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE AND STICKING WITH MY FIRST EVER HARRY POTTER FAN-FICTION!